“What are you doing for the holiday weekend? Oh, I haven’t really thought about it. I don’t know, I’m sure I will come up with something. Well, we are going out of town-will be back on Tuesday.” This is a conversation that I had with a friend who always manages to take mini trips. I thought about doing something for at least a minute, and then quickly put it out of my mind. However, as the day progressed, I realized that I really wanted to do something for the 3-day weekend. After some deep contemplation, I decided to plan a last minute after church luncheon. Several calls were made to friends who readily accepted my invite. I notified my husband that we would have company after church, and much to my surprise, he relayed that my idea was great.
On the big day, my friends arrived at staggered times. Much to my surprise, I was able to relax while the food was in the oven. As I smelled the aromas, I felt a warmth inside from the anticipation of dinner with friends. With the combination of food, great conversation, and a lot of laughter we had a memorable occasion. I begin to reminisce about the era of the 70’s when my house was filled with friends on a weekly basis. Yes, times were hard, but those were happier times. What happened? How had my life evolved to the point that my job consumed my life?
I became aware of an unbalanced work ethic in 2014. One of my younger co-workers asked me why I was always stressed. I responded that our job was very stressful, always meeting deadlines, and hearing constant complaints from our clients, it added up to stress. I was proud of my answer to this young millennial who had a carefree attitude. Her response gave me a reality check. I was told to think about the damage that I was causing to my mental and physical health. As I listened to her summation of the differences between the two generations, most of her explanation made sense. “Enjoy your job.” What did enjoyment have to do with my work ethic? I was not there to have fun. After all, my work performance was a serious issue.
As I reflect on our conversation, 2017 has enabled me to have a new meaning on a balanced work life. I deserve to have fun. Enjoyment of my career choice has enabled me to seek out different paths where I can utilize my skills, and still have a healthy attitude. My talents and hobbies are developing in a manner that I never expected. For years, I carried the burden of a tiresome work ethic, which left little time for enjoyment. My standards for work still include giving my best. However, I have made the decision to incorporate the friends and activities that add to my happiness. I have embraced part of the Millennial’s mindset, and I can say with a smile, I finally have my work ethic under control.